Employee tardiness

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It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine, so maybe a little laughter will help you transition back to work after the holiday weekend.

We recently came across the results of a survey conducted by CareerBuilder on employee tardiness. While the survey already is a few months old, we couldn’t resist the urge to pass it along.

The survey included 3,008 full-time, private sector employees and 2,201 hiring managers and HR professionals.

Among those surveyed, the list of most memorable excuses for employee tardiness included:


  • A zebra was running down the highway and held up traffic.
  • I woke up on the front lawn of a house two blocks away from my home.
  • My cat got stuck in the toilet.
  • I couldn’t eat breakfast – I ran out of milk for cereal and had to buy some before getting ready for work.
  • I fell asleep in the car when I got to work.
  • I accidentally put superglue in my eye instead of contact lens solution, and I had to go to the emergency room.
  • I thought Halloween was a work holiday.
  • A hole in my roof caused rain to fall on my alarm clock, and it didn’t go off.
  • I was watching something on TV and really wanted to see the end.
  • I forgot that the company changed locations.
  • I got a hairbrush stuck in my hair.
  • I was scared by a nightmare.

And now for a few statistics from the survey:

  • 23% of employees admit being tardy at least once a month, and 15% admit arriving late at least once a week.
  • 35% of employers have fired an employee for tardiness.
  • 48% of employers expect employees to be on-time every day.
  • 18% of employers don’t care how employees manage their time, as long as they get their work done.
  • Traffic is the most common reason for tardiness, followed by lack of sleep, problems with public transportation, bad weather, and dropping children off at school or daycare.

What are the most memorable excuses you have heard from tardy employees? I would love to hear them. Can anybody beat the zebra excuse?